A majority in parliament says no one representing the Dutch government should go to the European Championship football in Ukraine as long as the human rights situation of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other prisoners does not improve.
Outgoing sport minister Edith Schippers replied that the caretaker cabinet is concerned about the situation and is following it closely. “The cabinet will consider how this affects any presence at the football matches in Ukraine.”
Parliament, however, wants to take things further. Christian Democrat MP Henk Jan Ormel pointed out that other former ministers are in danger of being convicted. Tymoshenko is already in jail and has reportedly been abused by prison guards. He called on outgoing foreign minister Uri Rosenthal to urge an independent investigation, possibly by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The Labour Party is calling on Schippers to call Ukraine to account about the treatment of Yulia Tymoshenko and her party.
Socialist Party MP Harry Bommel said the cabinet should follow the example of the European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, who has announced he will not be going to Ukraine in view of Tymoshenko’s detention.
The presidents of Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have all announced they will not be attending the summit of Central European presidents in Yalta in mid-May for the same reason.
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